Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.

Fathers

I've been away at the Banner Conference and I must give a report some time soon. One evening we had a typical after sessions get together with my father-in-law in Guy Davies' room - G8 it was so we called it a 'G8 summit', wits that we are. Anyway we had the usual chat and then Geoff said tell us about your father and so we went round the room sharing and fascinating it was with various details coming out. One man was 4 when his father died, others were at their father's deathbeds at a good age. One even ended up leading his father and stepmother in a marriage reavowal ceremony when he was on his deathbed. I'm nearly 50 and my dad's still around. Some had Christian fathers, some not. Some could not be very complimentary about some things in their fathers, others were full of admiration. Some things came out that one could not easily share.
I've since mentioned the session to one or two and then you obviously say 'and what about your father?' Someone recalled his father's sudden death when he was just 6. Imagine that. It's all part of God's providence and those I've spoken to were all keen to see how God's grace had come to them and the part their fathers played, greater or lesser. I'm thankful for my dad although I wished he believed what I believe more. It's a strange feeling to love and admire someone so much and yet to fundamentally disagree with them. His days in the Boys Brigade had a subtle but important impact on my own spiritual story. When I began to go to a Friday night club he said I should go on Sundays (as was the BB rule) too as it wasn't fair to go in the week but not Sunday. (More on that here). My dad's philosophy that if you're committed to something it should be to the hilt has had a big impact on me as have lots of others things in him, realised and unrealised.
The other thing here is the question of what sort of impact I am having on my sons. How will they remember me?

1 comment:

Andrew and Carolyn said...

Hi Gary,

Thanks for this honest and touching post. My own Dad died 3.5 years ago, when I was 27. It was (and has been) a desperately difficult time - but one through which we have been able to trace God's providence and grace.

Amazingly one consequence of Dad being taken home to heaven has been our conviction that God has been calling us to overseas work on the mission field. His homecall caused us to re-evaluate a lot of things, and had the effect of being instrumental in our sense that God was moving us on to Peru. I was amazed to read in John J. Murray's 'Catch the Vision' of the profound effect that Lloyd-Jones' father's death had on him. I am sure I'd read it in Iain Murray's biography, but perhaps my ears weren't as primed for it then.

I trust the Banner conference was a blessing to you, and to all in attendance. I'd hoped to make this year, but wasn't able to - I'm sorry to have missed Joel Beeke in particular.

Anyway, enough rambling comment from me. Thanks for this thought provoking post.

God bless,
Andrew